CreativPaper Issue No. 008 Vol 3

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Vol 003

Issue 008

When CreativPaper was founded a few years ago, Jimmy Outhwaite wanted to create a platform for creatives both new and seasoned to showcase their work. We would never in our wildest dreams imagine that this would culminate into an active online community and seven digital issues. For our first print issue, we wanted to feature a selection of artists that have been an inspiration to us over the last year and new ones we have discovered along the way. In this issue, we have featured a wide range of artists ranging from Jason Clarke, Ronald Ownbey and Ziba Moasser to name a few. Each one challenging their creative energy into the work through a multitude of mediums. We would like to thank everyone who has believed in us and shared our vision. We hope you enjoy our latest labour of love. Thank you! Jimmy Outhwaite and Jefferson Pires


Healthy forests help absorb greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions that are casued by human civilization and contribute to global climate change. Without trees, more carbon and greenhouse gasses enter the atmosphere. To make matters worse, trees actually become carbon sources when they are cut, burned, or otherwise removed.

Cover Art By: Ronald Ownbey, Detail of Interdimensional Being, oil on canvas, 20 X 20 inches.









/RONALD OWNBEY Here at CreativPaper, we deal with different artist’s on a daily basis, each with their own stories of triumph, despair, love and heartbreak. But ever so often we come across artists that inspire you to the core. Born in West Hollywood, California in 1938 Ronald Ownbey is one of these individuals. His varied career, ranging from his time serving in the U.S Military to returning home to be a student, teacher and artist is inspirational, to say the least. As a professional artist do you think it’s important for art to be a means of living a life and not a means of making a living? One should make art because of one’s “passion” and need for expressing one’s self through creating visual images and objects. It’s where you grow and live as a unique person expressing your reactions and vision of the world and the images and fantasies that form in your mind.

it’s your way of living, so there’s no end to it.” If you are making and selling your art, that’s great. But you don’t create art just to become “famous” and make a fabulous living. Few who have that “dream” of making it as a “ new artist” will ever be able to achieve that level of artistic and financial success.

You must live with art, crave it, talk and argue about it, breath it, have a circle of artist friends, family and You have the need to create until life’s last breath. As Henry Moore, a others who appreciate it and relate modern British sculpture once said: to that which you create. “There’s no retirement for an artist; 08

Above: Dream Spirit, mixed-media on Panel, 9 X 12 inches 09

In the end, what’s important is that themselves and their families from you devote yourself to learning, the sale of their art through growing, creating and living your galleries, art fairs and the internet. life with art. In today’s instant age where Do you think it’s harder now than society and culture are used to ever to be a professional paid getting everything at the tap of artist? their fingers how vital is it to take Yes. If you have a great time to study the fundamentals “portfolio”, good artistic skills and and historical narrative of art? ideas one might find a position in To reach the height and level of a the commercial/graphic design great athlete, a great chef, a great side of the visual arts. But if you are musician, or a great painter takes a “ new artist” -a painter, a sculptor, hours, months and years of focused a printmaker, etc.- it’s hugely training and continued practice. difficult. It’s long hard dedicated and How does one intend to support painful work with no guarantee oneself with a degree in fine arts that one will ever reach that high when there is a relatively high bar that one’s passion for art strives unemployment rate for fine arts to achieve. Quintus Horatius MFA graduates. Flaccus a Roman poet and satirist (better known to us as Horace) Each year in the United States once said “no man ever reached hundreds of graduate schools of to excellence in any one art or fine arts graduate thousands and profession without having passed thousands of creative people who through the slow and painful are dreaming of a career in the arts process of study and preparation.” and being able to support themselves. The “instant gratification” so prevalent in our culture today is in Most will end up with some sort of stark contrast to this idea of study day job in another field and work and perseverance in the pursuit of in their studios at night and on the learning one’s craft. There are no weekends. In the long-term, some “rules” in art, anything is possible. will eventually be able to support Yet, it is only through learning 10

the techniques and fundamentals of design and composition, colour harmony and relationships, interaction of shapes through repetition, contract, emphasis and all the other aspects of visual communication that one becomes “free” in expressing one’s creative vision.

only did computer paintings on a MAC using Photoshop. Five years ago I got back to my love of painting. At first, it was like “I really didn’t know how to paint anymore”, so I have struggled and only now feel like I have gotten my “groove” back.

It’s rather strange looking at what is Learning through study and now happen to my creative practice the techniques and direction as I see figures creeping technical aspects of the craft of art back into my recent work and more and knowing the historical time spent on mixed-media narrative of visual creation helps to compositions. It’s like I have come feed and expand one’s unique full circle, and am now back in content and style beyond the graduate school working with the “ordinary” and opens up the human figure and experimenting possibility of someday achieving with mixed media. that “excellence” that Horace wrote about so long ago. Only its 52 years later and the work is now very different, and I have Where has your work headed no idea where it might lead. The more recently? thought of the journey is exciting During the 35 years that I taught as I see the past merging with the design and composition present. fundamentals, colour theory and relationships, and then computer Drawing inspiration from others graphics, I had little time to devote is an important aspect of the to my own creative output. creative process but how would you stay true to your original Since retiring from college vision? teaching in 2000, I went through a That is always a problem when you period of doing no art (spent a lot find things in another’s work that of time going to movies), and when you really like and would like to inI came back to my creative side, I corporate them into your own art. 11

You simply struggle with those visual concepts to make sure that they are incorporated and transformed into your work in your own way so that they do not appear to be derived from the work of some other artist. It’s hard, but the final vision must be in your creative style, not theirs.

The Dehumanization of Art by Jose Ortega Y Gasset. Gasset was a Spanish philosopher and essayist who was active during the first half of the 20th century.

I am also about to re-read two books that I read back in the 60’s when I was in graduate school. These essays had a great influence on my thinking at the time, and I am anxious to see and learn from them new insights applicable to the turbulent times we are now experiencing.

What in your opinion is the importance of archiving and cataloguing one’s work? It is important to catalogue your art as you go along (once a month if not more often) including notes about titles, media, sizes, grounds (paper, canvas,etc), completion dates, who has purchased your work and the names of galleries, museums, shows and art fairs where they have been exhibited.

Modern art, nonrepresentational art is unpopular with the masses since it has abandoned the realism and the romanticism that the What are you reading right now? public adore. The arts don’t have I am currently just getting into the to tell a human story nor use the book Popular Culture by Marcel human form but rather should Danesi, a professor of anthropolo- deal with its own forms. The public gy, semiotics, and communication must find and learn a new way of theory at the University of Toronto. viewing the arts accord to Gasset.

The Courage to Create by Rollo May, an American existential psychologist. Creativity does not come easy, and the courage to struggle is necessary to the process of making art. “We express our being by creating. Creativity is a necessary sequel of being” proclaims May.

You will find that having this information will be invaluable as you enter art fairs, have your work in galleries, sell your work, and down the road perhaps publish a


Above: Friend Spirit, Ebony pencil & turp, 7 X 10 inches 13

Above: Cough-Up, digital painting, 14 X 11 inches

book of your art. In 2013 a 160-page book was published covering 60 years of my art. It included 357 illustrations of some of my work, mostly in colour. Over the years I had kept track of most of my art but gathering the information needed to form the book, I found there were gaps. There were some lists of works but no photographs, and some photographs but no information or code numbers. After searching and borrowing works back from collectors so that

I could get them photographed, I was able to form a master list of most of my creative output. There are still many pieces missing, and I wish I had been more deliberate over the past 65 years in archiving and cataloguing my art. Back in the early 60’s when I was in graduate school at the Otis Art Institute, I was able to sell art through several galleries in order to raise money to help pay for my education. The gallery owners required that I have some system of numbering each piece so that we both could keep track of the work. 14

That’s when I developed the coding As an artist what are your and information system that I still thoughts on the environmental use to this day. changes we are facing? Especially in California where you are? Every finished work has a code California is very concerned and which tells me the media and when way ahead of most other states it was finished. Each code starts in addressing the environmental with the letter “O” for my last damages that we as humans have in name (Ownbey), followed by the inflicted upon our planet. media code and then the finished date.OP110574 tells me it is an oil In 1976 at the college where I was painting finished on November 5, department chair, students and 1974. faculty use to dump all sorts of toxic materials down the drains in OACP031715 tells me it’s an acrylic studio art classrooms. In 1976 we painting finished on May 17, 2015. were the first college caught by the OPD (pencil drawing), OCPD Environmental Protection Agency (coloured pencil drawing), OMM of doing just that and were forced (mixed-media), OWC (woodto remedy the situation. cut), and so on. This code number placed on each work plus addition- A collection system linking all sink al notes that I record, I keep in a drains in studio classrooms to a binder as well a digital database large underground double-walled storage tank was installed. When You need to develop a numbering the tank filled to a certain level, an and information system that makes alarm system would go off, and we sense to you, gives you all the would alert a company certified by details about the work that you the EPA to come and suck-out all might need in the future, and of the contents of the tank. includes a high-resolution colour The material would be transported photograph of the art. to a certified EPA site where the toxics would be scrubbed and neutralised. 15

All colleges in CA are now required couple of hours walking around to have such a system for all studio and looking at the art that I had art classrooms. created since I was 14 years old. It was very strange and surreal The general public, as well as looking at art that I know I created. artists, can take any toxic materials to certified collection Except for recent work, It was hard sites for proper disposal. In South for me realising how I ever made Pasadena where I live, several times this art. I would never be able to do a year the city will sponsor a it again since I am now in a very “collection day� where the EPA will different place with years of life come and collect toxic material for experiences behind me which later disposal. All California artists makes me feel and see things in a should be aware of this free service very different light. offered in all counties and not put paint thinner, and other toxic substances down sink drains or pour them into the dirt outside their studios. An exhibition covering 65 years of your work as an artist recently took place earlier this year in Los Angeles, what was that like? The exhibition took place at the Makeshift Museum located in the arts district near downtown Los Angeles. Selecting the art, borrowing works from collectors, and setting up the exhibition was time-consuming and hard work, but went very smoothly. After the exhibition was installed and before the opening evening reception took place, I spent a


Above: Tissue Invasion, digital painting, 14 X 11 inches



/LALIE S. PASCUAL Using a plethora of techniques and materials Lalie S Pascual’s work forces you to look at the bigger picture. What may initially come across as chaotic quickly reveals complex layers and details that capture the viewer’s imagination. With countless exhibitions under her belt Lalie is no stranger to the world of art. She studied at Boston University and Central St Martins in London and is currently based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Could you tell us a bit more how you approached it artistically? I work with images (video clips and photography) that could not have been shot simultaneously. For example, summer and winter, sunrise and sunset, up the hill and down by the lake. I digitally ‘break down’ my images into small forms and shapes, and recompose them into new realities that balance between their states of existence.

Time or the lack of it plays an integral part in our lives. It seems, however, that your recent body of work titled “Seasons of Time” explores time very differently. Could you elaborate on that? Time indeed is a dimension that structures and controls our life. However, I am interested in its scientific aspects and the fundamental question, what is “Time”? Is it infinite? Is it universal or relative? Is it linear, circular, any other shape? And how can I create visual artwork that engages with such an abstract concept, that we cannot really touch or see?

I call this process, a ‘digital collage’. Eventually, I wish to create a space where the macro meets the micro; the past meets the present and the future, and where shapes and meanings are in a constant state of regeneration, suggesting a world with endless possibilities. 18

Above: Seasons Of Time, InkJet, Acrylic Collage, 2015 19

How long on average do you spend on each piece? I capture my own images (video and photography) over different seasons of the year and various time of the day.


You recently started working on a dynamic project involving video and digital animation inspired by the “Song of Hiawatha” by the American poet Longfellow. The Then I spend long days, weeks and two projects seem very different, months at the studio exploring is there any connection? process and techniques (drawing, After creating artwork that explores video, animation, digital…), and a more scientific notion of time, I how these techniques engage with became curious to engage with a ideas. It can sometimes take a year culture that has a different to develop a new process. Once it is perception of time than ours. developed, I can produce a piece in a few days. “The Song of Hiawatha”, and some Native American legends behind it Was there an event in your life speak about a circular time that had a profound impact on (rather than linear time as mine). It you as an artist? is a story about a Native American Motherhood. I always approached hero that helps his tribe. my work very conceptually. After my son was born, I noticed one day What interest me is that it is a that I would like to speak about story where the wind can be a emotions too. Seasons of Time, for father; an ear of corn can be man’s example, intends to evoke some best friend; a tree trunk can fear. transform an old man into a young, and some little squirrels and It is not the fear that time or the sea-gulls can work together to save universe will come to an end, but a hero. In such a context man and a fear of not really understating Nature are blurred of creating their scientific ideas. A feeling of facing own time and evolution. something that is much bigger than our dimension. That’s why this artwork looks like a fragile equilibrium. To suggest 20

Above: Seasons Of Time, InkJet, Acrylic Collage, 2015



Is this looking outside the box something that is important to you? And if so, how can you communicate it as a visual artist? I am creating a series of video and digital animations that engage with different chapters/scenes of the poem. For this artwork, titled: “The Dream Catcher”, I am taking video clips in the Swiss Alps.

incredible respect for Nature, its magnitude and beauty. Some of the scenes I’m currently working are The piece pipe, The four winds, Green plumes of Mondamin (maise in Ojibwe), Home of the king of fishes, and The great trunk of an oak-tree. Work and information govern most of our lives, are you suggesting there is a better way? In our society, we are often running to achieve milestones, i.e. running towards our future before it ends. The Song of Hiawatha is a story of kindness, wisdom, bravery and the search for peace.

I mix clips with different perspectives, digitally ‘break them apart’, and recompose them into imaginary worlds. I have a dream catcher at my studio which I look at. As it turns, it creates shapes and structures that guide me when building the compositions. Some of the scenes I’m currently working are The piece pipe, The four winds, Green plumes of Mondamin (maise in Ojibwe), Home of the king of fishes, and The great trunk of an oak-tree. Work and information govern most of our lives, are you suggesting there is a better way? In our society, we are often running to achieve milestones, i.e. running towards our future before it ends. The Song of Hiawatha is a story of kindness, wisdom, bravery and the search for peace. There is also an

There is also an incredible respect for Nature, its magnitude and beauty. I wish to bring these values into my artwork and to create a work that not only challenges our understanding of the world, but also our possibilities, and our choices.



/MAXINE ATTARD Living in Malta can sure have its benefits, glorious sunshine and pristine beaches are great, but its geographical location in the Mediterranean makes it a melting pot of cultures from Asia, Africa and Europe. Artist Maxine Attard is lucky to call this island country her home. In our conversation with her, she talks about its vibrant art scene, constant trips to the airport and the use of beads in her art. What is every day like as an artist living in Malta? Rather quiet. I don’t mean there aren’t any culture-related activities in Malta, quite the contrary. Considering its small size, there is a lot going on.

almost because the situation might change; the push is certainly there. When it comes to producing work, I find it to be a very good place to work in, at least for my working process. Materials and services are not that expensive. There aren’t any studio blocks for artists to rent Having said this, as an artist living spaces in. However, it is r elatively easy to find other locations here, trips to the airport become of considerable size, so far, because quite common not just for workrelated purposes, but also to attend rents are increasing. Nevertheless one has to keep in mind that one is major art events and to revisit galleries for instance. This is due to working in somewhat of a vacuum and that taking breaks from the the almost total absence of island is necessary to keep ones important artworks, exhibitions, etc. being brought to Malta. I say work moving forward. 24

Above: Untitled (jacket collected from a beach in Malta, possibly belonging to a refugee) Mixed media 111 x 84.5cm (including frame) 2016 Photography by Martin Attard


Could you tell us a bit more about your body of work titled “Grid Works”? Works on paper and wood are what I view to be my main line of work. I call these works the “ Grid Works ” because they are all based on a grid, mostly drawn in pencil. The grids vary in size according to the overall dimensions of the picture plane. Then each section of the grid is filled with various materials such as oil-based industrial paint, paper and dust to name a few, depending on what I want to achieve. In the past few months, I have been working mostly with thread and beads sewn into paper. Almost all of the grid works can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I try to refrain from suggesting any single interpretation. Perhaps the most apparent element is repetition, both in the finished work and the working process. The repetitive action can be interpreted as a strive towards perfection, the wanting to achieve a sense of order in a chaotic outer world. I like the comparison of my working process to human labour which is ultimately done to sustain


life. I think there is something noble in that. However, I am also very aware that all this labouring away is futile because once a work is finished, it starts all over again with the next piece. Despite knowing that perfection is impossible and order needs to be continuously maintained, I feel there is this need in labouring away. These are all immense subjects and not easy to tackle. The “ Grid Works ” confine me to the studio and the working process is a very lonely endeavour. So I occasionally work on projects which are offshoots from my main line of work such as site-specific installations. Are the beads a metaphor for something in your life? The beads are just a material like any other for me. I select the materials on the basis of their properties be it their thickness, how they reflect light and how they behave in relation to other materials. I see the ‘material ness’ of the materials as sufficient reason to use them. And when the work is put together, its meaning overall at least for me does not go beyond this ‘material ness’.

Nonetheless, I am sure that not just in the beads but in all my other work, including my working process, there are metaphors to something or many things in my life.

find it humorous when people ask the question ‘Is it art?’ For me what exists is those people who have this urge to create.

What does art mean to Maxine? “Art” is a big word and I think its meaning differs with every individual. I think “art” is a term that was invented in order to categorise the output of individuals who perhaps are more creative than others and who are called “artists” (this obviously begs the question; “what is an artist”?).

So I think by including and excluding what we think fits and what doesn’t under the umbrella of ‘art’ is very limiting and suffocating. I think this is why the more I work, the less I think about “art”.

I do believe that we as humans are born with a level of creativity. In But perhaps putting a finger on some people, this urge to what makes me go into the studio create something is stronger than every day and work might mean in others so much so, that it the end of my artistic practice becomes an important aspect of because it is precisely that search their lives. Then there are those in understanding my need to make individuals whose creations my work, is the reason why I make manage to touch others deeply. it. And this is what is important to me I am also very careful not to give and maybe what differentiates art any suggestions to the viewer from craft. These creators who have because their own interpretation of this ability to ‘touch’ people, can do the work should not be so in any form, even those forms constrained, hence why most of my which are not considered to belong works are untitled. to the category of “art”.

I do not like to think about what “art” means and what it doesn’t. I


Above: Untitled, (work on paper, 1-17) beads, thread, pencil, acetate sheet on paper, 54x42cm, 2017, Photography by Martin Attard


Do you pay attention to trends in the art world? That is something that I used to do when I was younger. I used to observe what was going on and try to fit my work into it but not anymore. Actually, I am strongly against it now.

I do believe that everyone can relate to art. If they can’t, that is probably because their past has taught them out of their creativity and constrained them in how they express themselves, how they think and so on.

In my personal experience, I have I think it is very important to look, found out with time that to observe, listen and read not just to connect with other artists work, I keep up - to - date but to stimulate need to unlearn and forget about one’s mind by collecting many things I experienced in the knowledge, memories and past. On the other hand, artwork, experiences. But when it comes to as I mentioned earlier, has to be making my work, I turn away from good enough to ‘touch’ people. I these experiences and work think that this is one of the main without thinking about them. reasons why some artworks are distinguished from others and why Obviously, these experiences are some artists get acclaimed. there in the back of my mind, but I do not let them condition me in the These artists produce work that making of my work. It is like being people of most backgrounds can a sponge that absorbs everything, relate to, hence why art can be a but then I let my subconscious do universal language. This does not the squeezing. I do not force it in mean that everyone has the same any way. If I think too much about understanding of a particular what is happening outside, then artwork. that would make me distant from ‘myself ’, and my work would suffer. Every individual comes with their own personal baggage, and that is Do you think that art is a the basis on which their own universal language that anyone understanding of the artwork is can relate to some degree? What built upon. Yet, we are all human, has your personal experience and our minds function very been? similarly. 29

We may speak different languages, have different cultural backgrounds but everyone knows what sadness, happiness, anger, anxiety, fear and hope mean and I think that is what great art taps into. Tapping into those feelings does not mean describing them. It means, for an artist, to take them out of themselves, passing them through their work and then to the viewer. It is difficult to explain and even more difficult to make artwork that does this. This is why I do not follow trends or think about what “ art ” is and what it isn’t because those things get in the way. Mark Rothko who is one of my favourite artists once said; “You’ve got sadness in you, I’ve got sadness in me – and my works of art are places where the two sadnesses can meet, and therefore both of us need to feel less sad.” This is why art is a universal language, and everyone should be able to relate to some form of art. If not, then that person who is incapable of relating to anything, has a very lonely existence because humans need more than just material things to survive.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest project? In the past few weeks, I have been working on a number of works for a solo exhibition. These works also consist of a grid and this time I filled the spaces with debris collected from several building sites in my studio’s surrounding area. I came up with the idea while I was driving through a part of Malta in which I hadn’t been for some time, and I was taken aback at how much it had changed due to the extensive building going on. This reckless building is going on everywhere at the moment. Old houses are being pulled down, and virgin land cemented over to build blocks of flats with, in most cases, a total disregard for the environment and heritage. Each artwork is named after the location where the debris was collected. The exhibition title overall is “In Between Obliterations” which refers to the destruction of the past by the new which disregards the former.


Above: Untitled 5/6 thread, beads, pencil in paper, 50x50cm, 2016, Photography by Martin Attard

by an Italian pizzaiolo’s, a curry made by an Indian cook or lampuki, which is a traditional fish cooked by Maltese cooks If I feel adventurous, I pick a new restaurant. Eating is one of the Where does Maxine go for dinner pleasures of living in a Mediterranean country. in Malta? I like to eat and Malta is a good place for that because food is good and eating out happens to be very affordable If I want a relaxed evening I go out for a pizza made The exhibition is hosted by The Gabriel Caruana Foundation at The Mill - Art, Culture and Crafts Centre in Malta which is in itself a building of historical importance.



/CLARE SMITH Being born in a multi-heritage household certainly, has it’s advantages. Artist Clare Smith’s Chinese/English descent has given her a varied perspective with regards to many factors, especially art. Clare is also the co-founder of the Dover Arts Development (DAD) which involves working with different artists, curation, organisation and connecting artists across Dover. In her interview with us, Clare talks about the versatility of charcoal as a medium and how art became her main profession. You’ve been working on some new charcoal drawings lately, could you tell us a bit more about them? The new charcoal drawings involve working in situ for 2.5-3 hours on the same piece, taking me to a point where I physically needed to stop before the point of exhaustion. These drawings must: take 2.5-3 hours (drawing as a commitment rather than gesture) be performed in a garden/park (gardens as bounded and unbounded spaces, that change with time and that are timeless and as places of labour and

aesthetic production) represent a view from a designated viewing spot (chair, bench, …. the drawing thus reveals the subjectivity of looking) I think too there is a kind of patterning developing which I’d like to push further and I think the vignette quality of the drawings - i.e. the lack of a rectangular border relates to my thoughts on the porousness of borders, the difficulty of keeping things out or in and the fact that borders of all kinds can be breached.




For those artists considering the use of charcoal as a medium in their work, do you have any advice for them? Charcoal is very versatile and wonderful for creating dramatic passages of light and dark or atmospheric images. It is wonderfully textural, and you can use it for line work or for large smudgy areas or more gestural work and although it is very forgiving - meaning you can work into it with an eraser to create light areas or build up the dark areas - it has a way of making one focus on essentials. I’d just say give it a go. How did art land up becoming your main profession? I think I just got fed up not doing what I wanted to or what I really enjoyed and once I did finally manage to focus on art practice, I realised that this was what life is about for me. I managed this through a combination of leaving a more financially comfortable life, going back to study, and importantly meeting people I could work with and learn from on a personal and professional level. In particular Joanna Jones co-director of Dover

Arts Development. In an earlier interview with us, you talked about the work the Dover Arts Development does, of which you are a co-founder. Have there been any events since we last spoke? Plenty of events - we’ve been really busy; working with young people and developing a new cultural tourism project. What kind of timeframes do you look at with regards to collagraph prints from idea to completion? I work quite spontaneously so work quite quickly at the beginning and then I sometimes just add another layer to introduce a bit of variation so that it becomes a rather spare monoprint or as I said above to add more and more layers to the point almost of destruction. I like the idea of the individual within the collective, so I rarely make print editions as such, and there always has to be variation. I work on quite thin paper so have taught myself to wet mount the paper with starch paste. This is really time-consuming so if you include drying time as well as the whole process from creating the plate to the moment when the


Above: Bodyshaves, Garden #13, 2017

print is ready to present and if you include the ones I mess up, I guess one is talking about at least 3 days spread over a couple of weeks or probably longer for one print.

to place: I’ve always been ambivalent about place and until recently have never felt really connected to one place or put down roots anywhere.

What is the creative process like? Addictive, compulsive, urgent, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, necessary.

So drawing in a specific place is a way of getting to know it by being present - the charcoal drawings are quite physical and intense. At the moment I am interested in gardens and by extension parks as constructed landscapes and am also thinking about nature, pattern and culture as a kind of imprint.

Organic landscapes are a prominent theme in your charcoal illustrations, has that always been the case? Not really but I am beginning to think more about my relationship 36

Above: Hybrid Landscape #2



/CECILIA CHARLTON Every artist has their choice of medium, sometimes tangible that they use to express themselves. Artist Cecilia Charlton uses acrylic paints implemented with painstaking precision giving them an almost digital appearance. Through this she wants us to experience and bring about dialogue on issues such as human perception, history and social convention. Her anthropomorphic forms are familiar yet foreign, aiming to push the viewers into a space where science and humanity overlay and speak the same language. It is this contradiction, its duality that brings about dialogue, personal enquiry and change. And by her work’s very nature we think she has achieved those goals.


Above: The Room, Panel VII 39

Above: The Room, Panel VI 40

Above: The Room, Panel I 41


/ZIBA MOASSER Born Tehran, Iran where she lived most of her life artist Ziba Moasser has a unique perspective that words cannot express. She briefly lived in Dallas, Texas in her early 20’s. Having lived through the Iranian revolution in 1979 as well as the Iran-Iraq war she currently resides in Luxembourg with her family. Being born into a gifted family of painters Ziba has carved out her own artistic identity, recently incorporating semi-precious stones in her work which incorporates her emotional experience of personal and physical war and peace. You had your first exhibition in London earlier this year, could you tell us a bit more about that experience? It was truly an exciting moment for me. I had just started painting for 2-3 months before I booked my exhibition at Brick Lane Gallery in London, where, I exhibited 8 of my paintings there. Shortly, after the exhibition, I got an email from the World Wide Art Books to get published in one of their upcoming books, as well as, an email from Middle East Art Collectors Association in Dubai. My journey as an artist truly took off after my exhibition in London.

We believe you were born in Tehran, Iran. What was it like growing up there? I had the privilege of being born in Tehran, Iran. It is a country with great history and a lot of art history as well. As an only child, I spent a lot of time with both my parents. I enjoyed watching my mother paint on canvases and on fabrics of dresses she designed and made. She, my uncle and a few other family members were also self-taught artists, and I was always surrounded by them. I would like to think that my mother is my inspiration and that I can carry a part of her talent in myself. 42

Above: Powerful Freedom


Did the Iranian Revolution of 1979 have an impact on you as an artist? One thing that I had observed, it that whether it was the revolution or the eight-year war, the traditional art of that country has always remained and has continued. It is part of the culture and history. It is part of my culture and history.

unique beauty of the world and the miracles in nature so that we can truly feel the power of love. You have started incorporating semi-precious stones in your work lately, what was the inspiration behind that? In Iran, semi-precious stones or mineral stones are used for protection; especially Agate and Turquoise. When we always visited Germany; my husband, daughter and I loved visiting the mineral stone shops.

The way that this has shaped my journey as an artist is onefold: I wanted to create something to show that the past, present or future events in my personal life We love the energy they spread. I will not change my inner peace that have always wanted to somehow I have found through painting. work with these stones as they always seemed to spread positive The moment I picked up a brush energy. Which is why I decided and started to paint was the most to combine painting (something freeing moment I have ever that provides me inner peace) with experienced. semi-precious stones (something that spreads positive energy). It was What led you to move to the perfect combination to me. Luxembourg? We had a lot of family members For someone who only started living around in Europe, so we painting earlier this year, you decided to move to the heart of have multiple art fairs lined up, Europe, Luxembourg to be closer how does that make you feel? to them. I am very thrilled and still in a little bit of shock. I also recently was What message are you trying to nomiated by the independent convey through your work? judges of the Global Arts Award in To feel more connected to the Dubai in the Painting 44

Above: Underwater Sunrise

category and am very honoured and speechless that the judges have agreed that my painting is worthy of international recognition. I honestly can’t believe it sometimes. All I can say is thank you to the art community. What is your favourite memory of growing up in Tehran?

Walking up in the morning in Tehran and seeing the mountains in the north covered in snow in Winter. Ziba Moasser won a International Prize Leonardo Da Vinci on 20th January 2018. 45


/ALISE LOEBELSOHN There’s not a lot of people that can say that they spent a time in their life painting billboards overlooking the bustle of New York City but that’s exactly what artist Alise Loebelsohn did. Billboards might be replaced with large digital screens now, but the skills Alise learnt are invaluable not to mention the views of the infamous city’s skyline. Her work comprises of layering the surface of her materials with Venetian plaster followed by sanding and burnishing to build up patina and shine before the colours are introduced. In our interview with her, Alise talks about the joy of creating art in public spaces, her company and her time suspended above Times Square! You use Venetian Plaster extensively in your work, has that always been the case? No it hasn’t. As a decorative painter, I am familiar with many materials. Somehow from the very beginning of my experience with Venetian plaster, I was completely taken by the material. It has a luxurious tactile feel.

office buildings, lobbies and residences in this material, I began to experiment at home.

It is much more subtle then it appears, and there are many ways to achieve the desired effect. After working in commercial painting and covering miles of corporate

This allows for beautiful translucencies and subtle variations between layers. I was in Italy recently and could not help but look at the frescos and sense a

At first, my samples looked more like paint finishes, but over time they have evolved into my unique way of applying and layering by using paint in between layers and burnishing through at the end.


Above: Shape Within, 24 x 30in, 2017 47

familiarity with the materials. Although the chemical process of Fresco is different, the materials are the same: lime, plaster, wax, marble dust.

ability to do something that has never existed before. I never feel like it is work, it is like playing, and often I lose track of time and everything around me.

Would it be safe to say that the layers, patterns and subject matter in your work represent the world both physically and cognitively? I believe that there are many thoughts and feelings existing within us at any given moment. It is a bit like streams of consciousness.

My mother was an artist, and so is my twin sister. My whole family was creative, so growing up it was a part of my life. I like to look at my older work and remember what I was thinking when doing this or that piece. I find peoples observations of my work very enlightening. I think as an artist it is a way of healing and learning more about who I am. I think it is I think the same is true in art. I like also a gift to be able to bring joy to to see where a painting will go. I others. only have an idea of what will be; then I let the line colour and While studying at Pratt Institute, texture dictate what will come next. NYC, you worked for an organisation that created murals The challenge is to take all these in hospitals and mental shapes, forms and colours and to institutions, what was that separate what belongs in the piece experience like? and what I will have to eliminate to I was very fortunate to have a achieve a cohesive work. It is like a brilliant professor. Her name was tapestry with many layers of paint Mary Buckley. She created an orsandwiched into one surface. ganisation called the Margaret Gate Institute for students and graduates What is the favourite part of your to take the skills that we acquired job as an artist? in art school and use these tools I have always felt lucky to be an art- for the greater good. I worked in ist. It makes me happy to be around hospitals and mental institutions colour and to have the painting murals and very large 48

Above: Bird and Curve, 24 x 30in, 2013


Above: Bird and Egg, 36 x 40in 50

colourful silhouettes that were placed throughout the hospital. My professor believed that people need colour and beauty in their lives. If someone is sick, this could heal them or if not heal them at least make them feel better.

scaffolding. You had to hoist yourself up with a rope and so if you could not hold the weight you put your life and your partner’s life on the line. I enjoyed painting large and looking down over NYC at all the people and cars going by.

It was my first job where we learned that art really could have a practical impact on a person’s life. Patients didn’t quite get what we were doing, but it made them think and look instead of staring out into space. The group also designed taxis for the disabled and barriers for blind people on subway trains. Many of the practices that were performed are still used in hospitals today.

I could feel the pulse of NY and have a bird’s eye view of life in the big city. We learned different techniques such as how to get the drawing up and how to make the painting work from far away. At the time I was there, we were still doing ads for cigarettes and beer. I see now looking back how fortunate I was to have learned these crafts from the masters. My co-workers learned the craft from their fathers before them. Is it true that you painted Billboards are no longer painted, billboards in Times Square at one there are computers to do point? We would love to hear a bit billboards now. more about that! After working in the hospitals, I Could you tell us about your was hooked on doing very large, company Pompeii Studios LLC? grand work. Painting billboards When I got married and had seemed like the logical next step. I children, my husband felt that just had to convince the company hanging off the side of buildings that I could do the work. might not be the best way to start family life. It was a field dominated by men, and they did not employ women He suggested that I try going start billboard artists. The work was very my own decorative/mural painting physical, lifting ropes and large company. 51

I have been in business for 18 years. I mainly work in private residences but also have done large jobs at the New York Public Library and various large Hotels. My crew and I can copy and recreate just about anything, and the work has been very diverse. There is gilding, faux finishes, murals and paintings. Once I had to gold leaf a toilet. I enjoy working with others from the clients to the crew. It is very enjoyable to feel part of a team. What attracts you to creating art in public spaces? My dream is to be able to blow up one of my paintings to a large scale that would fill an entire room. It would be awesome. To use all the skills that I have learned over the course my lifetime like sign painting, gold leafing and murals. I would have a room full of texture and pattern and colour. I have it all worked out. I just need to find the right space.

husband is very supportive, and he does so many of the household chores such as cooking and cleaning. My boys don’t do art themselves, but they respect what I do, and someday who knows, maybe they will be artists as well. My 19 year old now loves to go to museums. When he was a child, we had to drag him there. I honestly do not think I would have been able to do all that I have done without my family. The support they provide always keeps me in balance and know what is truly important in life.

What does Alise do to unwind? I play tennis. I love it almost as much as art. I started when I was a kid and stopped for 20 years. Now I play twice a week and would play more if I could. We also have a little bungalow in upstate NY. It’s very simple but I love it. I love being in nature and hiking around the country. It’s very peaceful and I love to get out of the city to relax. I Are your family supportive of also really like looking at the work your art? of other artists. There is so much I am married and have two sons. 19 talent out there. and 12. They know where I will be if they cannot find me; In the studio working of course. My 52

Above: Castle and Stars, 18 x 24in, 2017 53


/KATIE IONE CRANEY There’s no denying that we world we inhabit is changing right before our eyes. Our consumerist way of living is having drastic consequences on our planet and its inhabitants. Species that have been around for millions of years are being wiped out, their habitats polluted or decimated for its natural resources. Artist Katie Ione Craney is trying to capture the essence of the elements and world around her and decipher it through her work. Using encaustic wax, silver leaf, tissue paper, line drawings, gauze, linen, and blueberry-dyed cheesecloth to hand-cut scrap metal she creates pieces that break down complicated, long-term social and ecological natures of a changing climate. You recently completed a month-long residency in Iceland, what was that like? Iceland was incredible. I gave myself a week to explore before the residency started explored the black sand beaches, volcanoes, ice, and all the things people flock there to experience.

land and seascape, took long walks along the beach and sea cliffs, and marvelled at the endless swell from the open ocean. What challenged me the most was the quiet, which forced me to face my own worst and best friend - myself.

Sometimes I liked what I saw, sometimes I hated it, but the place made me confront all the emotions After settling into the tiny and thoughts I hid away. They benorthern fishing town of SkagastrĂśnd, the actual appearance came exposed. There was nowhere to hide, no tree to curl up under, of Iceland started to show itself. I filled my space and mind with the no distractions to fill my day. 54

Above: Plastic Letters, 8� x 10� Ink, pencil, paper, gauze, and silver leaf under found plastic 2017. This is a new series made in Iceland, using found plastic instead of found metal. 55

I realised I couldn’t turn my back on the things I could easily push away while at home. Meanwhile, I dove into the landscape and found breath, beauty in subtle colour shifts, the nuance of September light, a hard yet warm culture. The expansive solitude of the place allowed me the space to reflect on why I decided to go to Iceland in the first place, what I missed about home, what makes a home so important.

and responding the best way I know how, with art.

One of the most important moments of my entire six weeks in Iceland happened my last night when I met with the artist Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir in Reykjavik. Her art is rooted in delocalisation, public involvement, and preserving the good for all Icelanders; she thinks and feels deeply for her country and its future. We shared our personal experiences, battles, and stresses dealing with being considered “activist artists,” and both agreed it is a title we don’t necessarily bestow upon ourselves, rather we feel or make the work we do because we feel it is the right thing to do.

There are so many similarities between Alaska and Iceland that I kept a list of similarities as I came across them: migratory birds, fish, alpine plants, aurora, long distances, isolation, self-reliance, and, of course, the weather. These similars gave me a certain comfort that I didn’t quite expect. The place was indeed raw and rare, with a special starkness that only the far north knows and holds close. I didn’t feel overwhelmed, or awestruck, rather, at ease.

She may not know it, but she helped reinstate confidence in the difficult task of paying attention

Like your home state of Alaska, Iceland is a land of extreme weather and beauty. How did the latter impact you as an artist? Like Alaska, the Icelandic landscape is unforgiving and challenging, with an unpredictability that heightens your senses and makes you feel vulnerable.

I also found similarities to what we are experiencing at home: shifting habitats, warming oceans, melting ice, new fish species to northern waters, way too many jellyfish, the list goes on.


People talk about it because they have to pay close attention to the land around them to survive. A volcano could erupt, a glacial lake could burst, a rogue wave could sweep you away. Noticing these similarities had a profound impact on me and heightened my appreciation for where I live in Alaska, making home all the more important to cherish, protect, and speak up for.

pace of growth, there aren’t enough resources to sustain our current worldwide population. What do we do about it? I wish I had the answers.

Questions like these are what keep me up at night. I try to remember that people are good, that we are capable of overcoming incredible obstacles when we work together and treat each other as equals. We have to remain hopeful; we have to The natural world as we know it is fight for what we know is right. getting smaller with each passing day. Do you think it’s too We are intrigued by your project late to turn back the clock? The titled “Surface/Layer”, Could you earth has recovered from tell us a bit more about how that cataclysmic events in the past, is came about? there still hope? Surface/Layer was a two-person Whoa. Those are weighted exhibition at the Juneau Arts and questions. I immediately think of Humanities Center, in Juneau one of my scientist friends who Alaska last December. The title was often says something to the likes of, inspired by ice and landscape, and “the earth will rebound, it’s humans our relationship to them. we have to worry about.” Landscape on the surface may It’s certainly hard to be hopeful seem okay, functioning as it should. for the things I care most deeply Once we start to investigate the for, like biodiversity, clean water, layers by taking a closer look we well-being, and equality. The see there are interacting systems current U.S. administration makes working to support what we see on it even harder to stay positive. the outside. I think that’s why I like science so much, though I’m not a It seems we’ve passed the tipping scientist at all, I appreciate the web point; we can’t keep up with the of intricacies, and discoveries 57

Above: “There are moments that keep themselves in our memories” (For Ernestine Hayes), 8” x3”, Paper, gauze, silver leaf, and encaustic on hand-cut scrap metal, 2017.

available for us to break down, understand, and make accessible. The more we learn about the place we live, the land that supports us, the importance and functionality of ice, the more we develop a stronger will to protect our life support systems.

What is the hardest part about being an artist? Most days it’s easy since it is what I feel most comfortable doing. What is difficult is making art about reality. I read, listen to the news, and pay attention as much as I can to what’s happening in my local world, as well as worldwide. I’m writing this while reading about recent events Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

So often the only way I can stay sane is to create, partially as a personal response, partially as a political statement, and partially because there are so many things in this world that can become debilitating if there isn’t an outlet. As an artist trying to decipher these changes, it can become a lonely, depressing place. The more I know, the easier it is to want to give up and say, “why bother, my art doesn’t make any difference.” Death and destruction are scary; the unknown can be terrifying. We lose, we grieve, we rebound, we adapt, we become stronger. We are capable of global change, of making special the things we hold dear, of


Above: A Series of Landfalls, 8” x 3” each, Ink, silver leaf, paper, Thai Kozu paper, blueberry dyed newsprint and gauze, Arctic cotton grass, and encaustic on hand-cut scrap metal, 2017.

stretch of shoreline, waterways, and archipelagos from Bellingham, Washington to the end of the Lynn Canal in Skagway, Alaska. For two weeks last spring, a group of filmmakers, writers, conservationists, and non-profit leaders were invited to sail from Poulsbo, You have a solo show coming up in Alaska this February, could you Washington to Juneau, Alaska, tell us a bit more about that? aboard the wooden 97’ cruising vessel, Sea Wolf, based out of The Alaska Pacific University Glacier Bay, Alaska. gallery curator contacted me last winter after seeing my work in I joined the crew as the naturalist a group show in Anchorage and and artist on board and was asked if I would have a solo given the opportunity to share exhibition. what I know of Southeast Alaska, my home, my commitment I’ve decided to focus on to staying abreast of what changes transboundary mining issues are happening locally, and sharing threatening the clean water that pours into the Inside Passage, the my art about loss, ice, land, and redefining norms, of being compassionate caregivers, of announcing our weaknesses, and asking for help when we need it most. As an artist, I strive to share these messages.


Above: For Keeping Warm, 3.5� x 5.5�, Silver leaf and paper under found plastic, 2017. This piece in in a series of three made in Iceland and based on idea of a glacier needing a blanket of new snow every year to maintain its structure.


how we survive and endure. We stopped along the way to interview anyone willing to share their experience living within the landscape: native leaders fighting for land and water rights to keep their traditions and way of life, scientists studying the intricacies of a discrete, intact ecosystem on a remote island, fishermen who rely on healthy salmon returns, poets reflecting on family in a stressed environment, lawmakers answering questions how they are trained to answer them. This show is in part a way to give back to the experience but most importantly, a way to share what I observed and learned along the way and showcase the beauty and importance of these waterways.

the last presidential election but leaving seemed like abandonment. There’s no place like home. Climate change is an issue which impacts every person on this planet but why do you think people are indifferent and to a degree ignorant towards it? It’s a complicated, abstract issue that’s hard for many to wrap their head around. We don’t know what to expect of it in our daily routine let alone 50 or 200 years from now. I think the immediacy of our culture makes it extremely difficult for us to plan since the issues and projections are hard to fathom.

Therefore we don’t know how to respond to them. Climate predictions and models are often abstract with a doomsday Do you think you would consider narrative. Advertising, marketing, living somewhere else? and social media filter the kind of Hmmm, no, not really. Every time information we receive. Money and I visit a new place, I ask myself, power seem to have the most “what would it be like to live here?” influence in what we believe, what I’ve always been attracted to deserts we save, what choices we are able, and love to visit them but don’t do or not able to make, and well in the heat. I’m always unfortunately, how we vote. thankful to return home to the drenched temperate rainforest of It’s curious to watch the fight for Southeast Alaska. resources and ultimately the fight for power and control over those Canada looked pretty dreamy after resources. 61

A good example is U.S. military spending, yet we continue to cut funding for education, healthcare services, environmental protection, the arts, etc. We’ve become heavily dependent on cheap oil, and we’re not quiet about saying it’s our right to have and control it.

we use, whether we drive or not, what kind of food we buy. With the enormity of the climate dilemma, it’s easy to feel like one person can’t make a difference, but I disagree.

How old were you when you decided to pursue a career in art? Let’s just say I was the geeky girl in A majority of our countries high school who would rather stay infrastructure is based on this finite in, put on Radiohead’s OK resource making it hard to wean Computer, or Homogenic by Björk, off. A similar argument could be and draw until 2 am on a school that we think it’s our right to have a night. My father was an artist; it’s materialistic lifestyle, low in my blood. There have been long taxes, access to guns. I realise all of lapses and distractions, especially these issues are very different, but after finishing my BFA. when you step back and look at the root of the problems, they are I felt like a factory and wanted indeed connected and very similar. nothing to do with artmaking. It As a capitalist society, we want it all seemed forced, rushed, and for all right now and don’t put a lot of someone else. I left for Alaska the stock in the repercussions or day I graduated from undergrad, impact of our daily actions. and it took a solid seven years or so to consider bringing art back into From my perspective, it seems my life. Is it now a career? Perhaps there is a certain façade up around it is more the thing that consumes American attitudes towards a majority of my time and thought. climate change. We know about it When someone asks how long it but have a chip on our shoulder, so takes to make something, often my we don’t do much about it. response is an accumulation of 32 years experience. Every day we make what seems like normal, simple decisions that have huge impacts on the larger picture. For example, how much electricity 62



/RIZZA BOMFIM Photography is not just a tool to capture the world around us. Like any medium, it can be used as an artistic tool to document and create. Brazillian artist Rizza Bomfim works on creating the frame before she takes a photograph instead of relying on digital editing and manipulation. Time-consuming as the process might be the results offer a much more personal and unique result thereby exploring the infinite possibilities of creative photography.






/ANDRZEJ KARWACKI Growing up in communist Poland during its years of political oppression had a profound impact on artist Andrzej Karwacki. The social, political and cognitive implications these times had drawn him towards peace, poetry and art as a form of creative preservation. Having moved to New York in 1984, he continued his education at the School for the Arts at Jersey City State University. During his time there Andrzej explored various mediums ranging from sculpture to printmaking, drawings to graphic art. In our interview with him, he talks about the extensive use of black and white in his work and his desire to create meaning with his art. Is it true that you work a lot in black and white? How would you say the degree of emotion conveyed varies from something painted with colour? In my view, black and white images are as rich in tone variation as colour images.

Though when it comes to creating abstract, atmospheric surroundings, I try to focus on the emotional relationship between colour and the intended location for art itself. Colors exist all around us; they infuse our daily life with peace or drama.

However, by simplifying the painting with only grey tones, I am able to amplify metaphorical content without the distraction of colour, especially when I am painting pop art figures.

My paintings become part of that interior landscape and in itself add to the mental processing and perception that occurs below awareness. 68

Above: American Beauty 69

Creating art is like composing music, elements come together to create a symphony for your senses. What three elements are vital to you as an artist? I try not to think of art as a number of elements that make up the whole. That would be too limiting. Instead, I think of it as an Evolution. And like in music, where each instrument and each note adds to another until a process starts to become felt, Colors and tones flow until a composition becomes visible.

My use of the contemporary material such as newspaper, photos, collage, paint, strips of aged wood and fabric allow me to communicate timeless concepts that are more so based on Buddhist philosophy. My works have an intention of equanimity that is neither a thought nor an emotion. And Truly, It is an exploration of my own social psyche. We are what we feel, and as an artist, I make that visible.

Out of your abstract series of paintings, your “Eq Redefined� series is one of our favourites, what inspired the series and its collage-like structure? My work is always driven by the desire to create meaningful content. Equanimity Redefined is my current series of paintings. Your pieces often contain Here, I have reconstructed my contemporary elements like paintings to embrace the newspapers, fabric and books, underlying order and harmonic What are your thoughts on the balance that supports the organic fact that they are time capsules in and at times chaotic nature of life. their own way? I like to think of time as the The style is created by the element that brings past, presence application of paint with a and future into a single palette knife to thin wooden perceptual field. I would want my boards, which are consequently cut art to be non-linear in that way. up into strips and collaged together The creative process is nothing more than a playful rediscovery of something that was not there before. I stop when a work of art seems somewhat but not completely complete, allowing the viewer to bring his/her own experience into it.


Above: Equanimity Chronicle Series, Make Love Not Walls

in a different order thereby creating more graffiti-like painting landscape, reading the composition like a book that can be read repeatedly with new nuances coming to the fore each time. The process also includes an additional step of including strips of collages made from various newspapers and magazines to bring fragments of imagers and text into the composition. The collage also serves to ground the work in time and place, with references to Art, Poetry and The Bay Area’s contemporary lifestyle. These works capture pursuit of a type of art that was perceived in The “New American

Painters” movement as being distinctly American. In style, they bring to mind works of John Chamberlain and Mark di Suvero who have similarly prioritised spontaneity and expressive force. My work goes a step beyond and successfully combines two very different artistic styles, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, into one cohesive composition. Do you remember your first steps towards becoming an artist? How old were you when that happened? Art is but a child play. I think at heart, all of us want to remain that way.


Above: Equanimity Chronicle Series


It always helped to process and experience life more fully. And as long as I remember, I found an escape in creating my own artistic world at an early age.

What is Andrzej’s favourite childhood memory? My favourite memory is of when I rescued a German shepherd puppy. I was 4; he was only a few months old. I found him with his two rear legs broken.

These were my first inspirations: the snow castles in winter, the stick bridges on rainy days across the I brought home and nurtured him gutters, the flames from burning each early morning…he was piles of toy soldiers. happy and pure like nature itself. His breath smelled of milk, and his But In time, the plays, the forms, coat was soft like a pillow. I held the marks and colour brush strokes him…knowing this was a passing have become intentional and more moment. deliberate. Perhaps, the experience of creating is even older than my He did not make it and after few age…after all, I don’t remember weeks passed away due to his when it all began. injuries. But in a short time, he was there; I was able to feel my What does a typical workday look heartbeat with that same joy and like for you? connection that art brings to my Typical is when I paint each day, life today. Now, I own three dogs, seven days per week. But as a and they all sit in my studio when I creative being, I feel typical just work. After all, they help me does not suit me very well. I try for balance myself as once I did each day to be different than the holding a puppy when I was 4. one before. And though there are repetitions, I spent my time as an Expressive Art Therapist, musical composer, sculptor, painter, filmmaker, writer, wonderer and most of all, a keen observer of all reality. 73


/MICHELLE HOLD Michelle Hold believes that you are born with an artistic mind. When Michelle was aged 10, her creative passion blossomed, and she began designing her dresses. Michelle started studying architecture in Austria, then dropped by chance into modelling which gave her exposure on the international circuit. She lived in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Munich, where she attended various art and textile design classes and subsequently worked as a textile designer in Milan where her designs have been used by Krizia, Escada, Ungaro and Bluemarin. A few years ago Michelle finally began her career as a painter. Michelle gets her inspiration from everything around her. From looking at nature to reading about discoveries in science or watching fashion shows. With colour playing a vital role in all of her paintings, you can’t help being mesmerised by the intricate layer upon layer of each painting. Could you tell us about the influence that authors Eckhart Tolle, Gregg Braden and Ester Hicks have had on your creativity and spirituality? About three years ago while researching an exhibition about the theme of Silence I came across Eckhart Tolle and his book ‘The Power of Now’. It has deeply influenced my way to think and react to problems in my daily life

and consequently my way to paint. Following Gregg Bradden’s videos has given me answers to many questions I had regarding the purpose of my life, the deeper understanding of our past and connection between ancient masters and science. While Ester Hicks, especially her online videos have opened my mind and given me a deep feeling of peace and contentment, knowing the place 74

Above: Remembering the Path, 130x130cm


I am right now and the dreams I feed, which consequently you can discover in many of the paintings I made for ‘Turning Inside’. ( for example: ’The Dreamer’s Dream’ )

harmony easily.

The curator Carlo Pesce describes the paintings ‘Emotions of power and tranquillity’, sounds a contrast of two impossible forces but he points out the powerful gestural action does not lead to chaos but leaves space for contemplation.

During the process of painting do you think it is important to give the viewer a storyline or something they can follow? While curating many exhibitions and talking to visitors, I found that a large part of the public is very insecure about their approach to a painting, especially an abstract one.

You have talked about concentrating on your inner voice as a source of inspiration, how important is it for artists who Could you tell us a bit more about might be just starting out in their your current body of work titled career to find that voice or space? “Turning Inside”? Very important. Real painting and ‘Turning Inside’, my latest solo creation in general, be it making exhibition is a body of work in music, fashion, art, only happens if which I have been concentrating you are deeply connected with your on my inner voice, the paintings inner energy and paint from this are creations from a place of no unknown place with your time, no space, no body, a place of intangible power that resides deep peace and harmony where I find inside you, almost in trance strength. forgetting all around you.

I decided to continue constructing the paintings by multiple layering, but at the same time, I wanted to leave space and convey a message of freedom and liberty by applying vast floating gestures that make you feel flying in the universe. The colours I have chosen are very often calming the movement so that the viewer finds beauty and

If you offer just a sentence, you give big help, a key to enter a new world and open someone’s mind. Many visitors to my exhibitions have thanked me for opening to them a new world and giving them more understanding about Abstraction and my personal approach to it.


Above: Searching for Clarity in chaotic times, 100x120cm

My paintings talk about feelings, emotions and when the viewer sees, for example, the word ‘Love’, he immediately tunes into this vibration. In my opinion the moment you understand the motivations of an artist you can see his work in a different light. What are you passionate about apart from art? Strange you are asking me that question because the group

exhibition I am preparing for 2018 is just called that ‘Passions’. Having so many passions I have been thinking which are my most important ones right now. After creating ceramics, sewing bags and scarfs with beautiful silks, decorating my homes, designing carpets and fabrics I can say that colour has always been and still is my biggest passion. I am preparing my new solo show for 2018 77

Above: Continuously searching, 120x150cm

entitled ‘Color is calling’. I am excited to find new colour combinations, listen to the different vibrations of colour, invent refined colour schemes for the flowers in my garden, in my house, in my paintings. And I love to create, create and no day goes by without creating something: a new collage, a neckless, a painting, a flower composition, a scarf, a table decoration or even a delicious meal.

Artists often use colours to convey moods, what is your current colour palette trying to convey? I am a lover of all blues, turquoises, colours that make you feel at ease and chill out but right now I am also very much into Magenta, this hue of red going towards blue gives me comfort and excitement at the same time. White I used as a veil, leaving magic and space for imagination and fantasy.


Above: Vibrations of Joy, 2018, 120x100cm, acrylics and pigments on canvas



/SOFIA BOTERO Life has a way of putting us in situations that have a profound effect on us for years to come. Sofia Botero’s formative years in Columbia in the 80’s and 90’s have certainly shaped her as a person personally and artistically. Currently living in Boston, Massachusets, Sofia spent last year working on a project titled “My Life Without Me”, in which she addresses forgetfulness, enclosure, silence and the twists of memory. Combining various mediums such as painting, drawing, photography and sound she used her art as a way to give clarity to her memories in a multidimensional format.






/JACK BALAS The ubiquitousness of the internet and social media has resulted in us being bombarded with visual and cognitive stimuli at an alarming rate. These stimuli, often forgettable do very little to grab our attention for more than a few seconds. As we swipe, tap and pinch our ways across the day. Artist Jack Balas wants to create content that is more memorable, with a deeper impact. We recently sat down with Jack where he talked about the inspiration behind his work and the perceived stereotype of masculinity among other topics. What are your thoughts on the analogue/ digital divide? The speed and volume (as in quantity) of information these days is breathtaking, but there is so much. As a result, it’s not only too easy to be overloaded; I think we actively start looking for ways to ignore big pieces of it.

also in letters and notes and photographs - provide a concrete visual link to ideas and events. I can see how big my reading pile is, for instance, and I can find things too (e.g. the thick red spine with some white lettering).

So when real art is on your wall, you live with it in a different way than compared to some jpeg in When every icon on your some file on your hard drive. The computer is only the tip of some physicality does slow you down, huge iceberg, I think it’s too easy to forget what your priorities are as but you process it better (like well. That’s when physical pieces of chewing your food however many paper— as in books especially, but times your mother told you to). 84

Above: Jack Balas, 2017; THE PASSING OF THE WEST (A LIGHT THAT HOVERS OVER US ALL) (#1445); watercolor, ink & acrylic on paper, 30” x 22” 85

Could you talk us through the inspiration behind your art? When I first started painting in high school, I was completely inspired by landscapes. In college, however, I did lots of photo and wound up getting my degrees in sculpture, with a strong interest in conceptual aspects. Text also came in significantly at this time. It may look like some about face, but in the late 90’s with the beginning of my photo series STUD DUST and the young men in it, I began to address another side of me I’d never approached before. The male image and the idea of male beauty has been so suppressed throughout history, that I was barely aware of it going through school. Sports figures have always been around, of course, and some people think Michelangelo’s “David” ought to suffice for all people and all times. But I’ve found that the guys I paint can encompass all of my former concerns, at the same time that they offer the world a take on maleness that is accessible to everyone, and arguably erotic at times in ways that go beyond the

usual “eye candy.” I think of the guys as stem cells, able to go off in any direction at their young age, and fulfil issues of beauty and intelligence on many levels simultaneously. I think of William Blake’s line: “To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, to hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” These guys are that. Do you think the perceived image or stereotype of masculinity has changed in the last decade? I think it’s been changing ever since feminism came along. Masculinity now has some acknowledged feminine side, and it’s men who have embraced the idea. What are you listening to right now? I listen to quite a mix; I even flip between radio stations. While I like jazz the most, the coolest thing can happen when some pop song is on, and some lyric will float out and hit some perfect nail on the head in my head, and I will write it down on the painting (if I’m working on paper) as not only some annotation of the studio process that day but as some real emotional tie to the


Above: Jack Balas, 2016; SUMMER READING (study) (#1342); watercolor & ink on paper, 30” x 22”


Above: Jack Balas, 2017: YOUNG BLADES ATOP MT. MARSDEN (For Marsden Hartley) (#1459); watercolor, ink and acrylic on 2 paper panels, 45” x 30” overall. 88

the image itself. Was there an event in your life that had a profound impact on you as an artist? The day over twenty years ago, when a very good-looking young man came walking past my house with his dog and no shirt. I thought about it for maybe three minutes, and then I jumped on my bike, and found him a few blocks away and asked if he would pose for some photographs. That was how my STUD/ DUST series began, which stayed as a photo series for some years, but eventually, I began to use the images to paint from as well— and that whole subject matter really took over my work.

and combat still get the most play. I think, though, with the broadening of women’s power and stature in society, not to mention the GLBT perspectives, there is an increase or willingness to see men’s more vulnerable and erotic side. While men have for centuries been idealised physically in art (think Michelangelo’s “David,”), I want the men in my work to at the same time remain approachable in an everyman sort of way— i.e. that you can aspire to some quality you are looking at or reading about in the artwork.

Where are you currently based and why? I grew up on the south side of Chicago and moved to Los Angeles after graduate school. I’d been a landscape painter before I met my husband, painter Wes that and was incorporating text and Hempel, there and after a few years, stories into it all as well. These days we decided to move to (and for years) the three idioms Colorado, since I had fallen in love have produced a very fruitful with the place during summer menage a trois. vacations as a kid, and I was ready to live in a more walkable city too. Do you think the male form will ever be commoditized as its We wound up in Boulder since female counterpart? we both love college towns, and I think men are commodified more we both wound up teaching at the and more these days, but the University of Colorado— though stereotypical approaches of sports not art, but writing. 89

The little town we live in now is 25 miles away because it was affordable at the time. But when I got a one-year teaching gig in the art department at the University of Arizona in Tucson, we wound up getting a small house there where we still go back during winters & springs.

at considering the gyms I usually find them in. My job, though, is to up the ante then with the images I make out of them— either in traditional compositions employing the usual panoply of image-making techniques and also through the incorporation of stories.

Could you tell us a bit more about your body of work titled “Stud Dust”? As I mentioned above, STUD/ DUST started out of the blue in 1995, when a very attractive young man came walking past my house with his dog and no shirt. I followed him on my bike and set up a photo shoot, and now it’s been going for 22 years.

The sub-rosa project among all of this, which I am only this month announcing, has been the simultaneous 22-year self-portrait project of me with the guys, often naked.

It’s been very weird to be the one guy in all of the photos getting older over the years, while everyone else is in his early 20’s. I’m just this month putting a new I hire perhaps four models a year to book together documenting the come in onto a white set and project, titled THE NEVER-ENDinteract with props and signs, ING POEM: A 22-YEAR (AND always looking to find something COUNTING) SELF-PORTRAIT metaphoric in the images. There AMONG ETERNAL YOUTH are stand-alone photos, but I also AND OTHER NAKED MYTHS. take more simple images to act as (this title is still in flux somewhat) subject matter for painting. Is there someone in popular I love the stem-cell nature of the culture right now that you would guys (they are at the age where they love to photograph or paint? can go off in any direction), and of The nice thing about painting is course their physical perfection, you don’t need the live body there which they really do work hard to work from if you can rely on 90

Above: Jack Balas, 2015; THIS IS AMERICA (#1227); watercolor and acrylic on paper, 22” x 30”

other sources. My MUSE/ MUSEUM series pays tribute to many artists and a few authors I’ve admired over the years, including John Steinbeck, Bruce Nauman, Robert Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, William Kentridge, H.C. Westermann, Reginald Marsh, Marsden Hartley, Grant Wood, Keith Haring, Karl Bodmer, Winslow Homer, Raymond Pettibon, Vincent Van Gogh, Kara Walker, Phillip Guston, and Edward Hopper, among others.

If I could have coffee with any one of those alive, it would be Kentridge. He is one of only three artists who stopped me cold in my tracks the first time I saw his work.



/JULIA DEPINTO Social Media has for better or for worse changed our lives in ways we are only just beginning to comprehend. Whether it’s the constant checking or ubiquitous sharing, there’s no end in sight. Artist Julia DePinto uses self-portraiture along with traditional and experimental approaches to printmaking and photography to her advantage. Using the technology we take for granted to bring about social and political dialogue. Through her images, she is making us question our very relationship with these platforms and how it makes us perceive ourselves and others.






/DR. MIRANDA TROJANOWSKA Lecturing in biochemistry and forensic science while being an artist sure has its advantages. Dr. Miranda Trojanowska knows these too well. Under the guidance of her mentor, award-winning artist John Gilbert, Miranda has progressed extensively as an artist in both technique and perception. A large body of her work revolves around expressing emotion through abstraction, something she thoroughly enjoys. In our interview with her, we discuss her new series of paintings called “Succession”, her thoughts on the crisis in the natural world and her idea of a perfect duvet day. Your new series of paintings titled “Succession”, emphasises movement on many levels, as someone who is a research scientist in Biochemistry, how does motion in the organic world influence you as an artist? Atoms: the fundamental building blocks of matter, life and form created at the instant of the formation of the universe – atoms that have coalesced, morphed into and evolved into matter and living

organisms, over time and space. It is the Space-Time Continuum and the current Standard Model that dictated the behaviour of atoms across the universe – a process controlled by subatomic particles within the atoms: strings, containing the memory of instance and formation. It is through the oscillation of these strings and thus flow and movement of atoms, coalescing into matter through



the complexity of physics; the hue, tone and colour of chemistry; the blueprint formation of DNA: in essence we are products of the instance of a moment of time when the atoms have come together and created the universe we live in today – a persistent elemental memory of instance, creation and energetic construction which formed what we recognise today. As humans, we have evolved through strings, atoms, matter and ultimately physics, chemistry and biology to create in us a consciousness that we recognise as thought and creativity.

My exploratory and research process recreates a brief instance of the formation of matter through strings and atoms – capturing the oscillation of these atomic and subatomic particles in an instant, a snapshot of nature; creation using the rules of physics and the process of chemistry – the flow, movement and metamorphosis of colour: a tangible snapshot to symbolise evolution over time, expanding our consciousness , in essence leaving an imprint on the canvas of the vestiges of the start of the universe.


Your new style is a departure from your previous works, was the evolution organic? Are there any other artistic endeavours you want to focus on apart from painting? I enjoy exploring movement in all my work, and I wanted to bring in more of my scientific background into my work, hence in a way the evolution was seamless and organic yet it flowed into this new style. I have always used bright colours, and it was through this movement of paint and blending of hues that I wanted to capture ‘instance’ – in a way a snapshot of creation. In

this series, the colours are bolder, sometimes meld and complement yet sometimes repel and jar – but this is what I am aiming for. I have experimented with blacksmithery – heating metal to make the atoms more malleable and working the heated metal into organic shapes that still hold that ‘instance’ but evolved from a dull piece of metal into a shining sculpture. I did feel a little like the god Vulcan in his forge using fire and hammers to create an object. This is something that I will tie in with my next collection and create a narrative to go with it. 99

As a lecturer, do your students influence and challenge your creativity? Very much so. I am not only an academic tutor but take a pastoral role too. I have witnessed a few students overcome personal hurt, a lack of confidence and have watched them grow and blossom into mature adults and humble individuals. Two female students in particular spring to mind – they are now pursuing university courses but they both had to overcome personal and academic difficulties, yet they persevered and were

successful. It was a privilege to witness this transformation - so much so that I created for each of them a personalised painting that showed how far they have come and that they will turn into incredible members of society. Out of all your new pieces, do you have a favourite and why? ‘Swirls of my Imagination’ is my favourite of the series. It is the bold colours and shapes that jump out at you – also I love the combination of black, red and white, my favourite!


As an artist and a biochemist, what are your thoughts on the crisis the natural world is currently facing? Sadly, we have damaged and continue to damage ecosystems and delicate areas of scientific interest. There are conservation projects going on, but we must all take ownership of the damage we are causing through pollution and dumping of rubbish that could easily be recycled.

with all the different shades of reds, greens, oranges, browns, purples and yellows. Sheffield is a very vibrant and cultural city with several art galleries, independent cinemas that show world films, fabulous eating places.

Our planet is amazing, yet we are continually causing stress on delicate ecosystems such that some have been lost forever. Could we use genetic engineering to recreate lost species? That is an ongoing and very heated debate covering ethics, religion, moral, political and ecological dynamics. Not a subject to bring up at a dinner party!

Does Miranda enjoy a good duvet day? I like nothing more than curling up under a blanket when it is cold outside, with my pussycat on my knee and reading a book with a cup of Yorkshire Tea. Bliss!

Could you tell us a bit about life in Yorkshire for those of us that have never been? Yorkshire is a friendly and vibrant place. We have the Peak District on our doorstep which comprises rolling hills and moors. When the heather blooms, there is this amazing burst of purple colour and autumn is visually spectacular



/JOSEPH GODDARD Based in the city of Leeds, United Kingdom, artist Joseph Goddard is an artist predominantly concerned with post-war architecture, its inherent ideology, formal aesthetics, structural forms and the effect it has upon its inhabitants. He explores these ideas through a multitude of mediums ranging from sculpture, photography, painting, illustration and print. In his latest body of work titled ‘Structure of Collapse’, Joseph explores the idea of the city as an enduring speculative technology. Through a series of sculptures, he represents large social and cultural epochs, connecting ancient conceptions of cities built to mirror the constellation of the stars to the astrological age of Pisces, which charts the period from approximately 100 BC to 2500 AD. Drawing inspiration from the French Philosopher Paul Virilio, he envisions cities as cultural and technological hubs, its residents absorbing its ideology which is beamed down from satellites, its dystopic vision a reference to its endless crisis.


Above: Structure of Collapse Detail


Above: Ghost of Nithstang #14


Above: Ghost of Nithstang #20



/NATASHA MERCADO Most of us have had a pet at some point in our lives. There’s no denying the impact they can have on us. New York-based artist Natasha Mercado specialises in pet portraits, a surprisingly burgeoning market. In this interview, she talks about her journey to New York City and her current work featuring natural landscapes. You are known for your pet portraits, but you have been painting sea and natural landscapes lately, could you tell us a bit about that? Back in college, I used to spend a lot of time elaborating natural landscapes and now, I wanted to experiment taking advantage of New York City’s beautiful Central Park landscapes to focus on a new concept.

interacting with people globally. I also share my website with clients and their friends through email and by word of mouth, which I found to be quite effective.

What commission that you have recently worked on has been the most challenging? A piece I named Plum Layers. It was a commissioned work for a good friend back home (Maryland) who saw one of my pieces on How do you advertise your work her Instagram feed. It was new for me to use and think abstract. The and services, how do the lovely pet owners of New York find you? piece depicts the various connected strands, lines and texture within I mostly use social media such as the makeup of a leaf. Instagram and Facebook to advertise my work while 106


Do you have a bigger goal you are working towards as an artist? I am working on adding more paintings to my abstract collection and want to display them back I in the Washington, D.C., area where I started my art career. I want to be able to reach large groups of art lovers and use my art to have a positive impact on their lives.

that comparing yourself to others is quite damaging and not at all productive or honest to you, your fans or your work. I always concentrate on my work, contributing and creating on a daily basis. Starting something is always hard wherever you go.

Where is Natasha’s favourite place to grab Pizza in New York? What are you reading right now? Oh. Just one?? “Delivering Happiness” by Tony I love heading to Speedy Romeo on Hsieh. the Lower East Side. They have the best classic pepperoni pizza, and all What do you love about your job? of their toppings are always fresh. I love having the ability to It’s a quick stop and a straight-outdepict love, joy, truth and of-the-oven heaven. happiness through my work and create timeless pieces for my clients. The excitement and happiness that fills up their faces as soon as they see their gifts are utterly priceless. My work represents the special interaction between the individual and their pet; this becomes a fond physical memory even long after their companion has parted. Is being an artist in New York as tough as people say it is? There are many artists living in New York, but I also understand






/ROBYN MARSHALL Love or loathe them tattoo’s have been around for millennia. From traditional tribes to modern ones we have been tattooing ourselves in one way or another to promote a sense of belonging. Whether you are a member of an isolated tribe in the remote canopy of the Amazon rainforest or a hipster sipping a cup of coffee in New York, tattoos help us identify with a certain group. The profession of being a tattooist doesn’t just require a steady hand, they require a knowledge of the arts and skill to transform a blank human canvas into a moving art installation. Canadian tattoo artist Robyn Marshall was fascinated with the human anatomy as a young child and dreamed of illustrating medical textbooks using her father’s old anatomy books as a point of reference. This eventually progressed to Robyn opening her first tattoo studio in 2016. Her goal as an artist is to bring beauty to the misconceived and unnoticed.




What have you been working on since we last spoke to you earlier this year? I’ve been working on establishing a specific style in the tattoo world. I’ve become known for my illustrated flower style. A mix of sketch and pointillism all in greyscale work.

What is the hardest part of being a tattoo artist? I find the hardest part is gaining people’s trust who aren’t good at visualising how the tattoo will look once on their body.

I have spent hours with clients going over design concepts, placing stencils at different sizes on their Can you tell us a little about the body to help them try to picture transition into your current style the end result. I try to be as a tattooist? empathetic and understanding to I started as an artist doing large each client as each client is always scale medical illustrations. I’ve sold so different. Sometimes there’s a lot multiple commission pieces to of hand-holding and reaffirming. doctors and surgeons around Canada and the United States. It’s sometimes so much more than just a tattoo. It’s a building of a The transition to tattooing just relationship between the artist and seemed like a natural progression. the client. It provided me with extensive knowledge of human anatomy, Are you passionate about muscle structure and an anything else apart from your understanding of the layers of your work? skin. Art and music have always been my passions. I can play multiple It’s allowed me to provide my instruments, but at my heart, I’m clients with anatomically correct a drummer. My dad plays the bass tattoo designs. Over the years I’m so growing up we always played finding that anatomical tattoos are and jammed together. If I’m not becoming increasingly more painting to tattooing, I’m probably popular. Anatomical hearts, skulls drumming. and rib cages to name a few.


Would you say that you discover a little more as an artist with every piece that you work on? With every tattoo I do at that moment, it’s always my favourite. Every day I’m growing as an artist and my skill set.

What was Robyn’s first tattoo? My very first tattoo was a death head moth on my husband. He’s always been my biggest fan. Always pushing and supporting me in any direction I want to go.

I seem to always finish a piece and lean back and say yes this is my best work. Then the next day comes, and I say the same thing. I love pushing my abilities and style as much as possible. I love pushing my boundaries and seeing where the creative flow will lead me. 116



/YVONNE FORSTER Over the last couple of years artist Yvonne Forster has developed a portfolio of work around the theme of nature and conservation. Her work seeks to engage with and express the effects of alienation, and disconnection that shape humanity’s relationship to the natural world in which we exist. Many works are inspired by issues around deforestation within the Amazon Rainforest’s. She hopes that her artwork encourages the viewer to ponder the importance of conservation work and cultivate a deeper understanding of issues around the sustainability of natural resources. Her most recent series of works could be described as semi-abstractions highlighting the interdependence of nature and consequential fragility of ecosystems. She enjoys the process of pushing boundaries, exploring techniques and mediums such as acrylic paint, watercolour, charcoal, collagraphs, linocut, photography and mixed mediums.


Above: The Making of a New World, 2013, 119

Above: Altered Perceptions I, Mixed Media, 2017


Above: Altered Perceptions V, Mixed Media, 2017



/GIL ZABLODOVSKY Artist Gil Zablodovsky presents a new media installation that examines the connection between sound waves and the visual image and what we know about reality and our inability to control the result. Gil has been researching the connection between sound and image for several years. In his first solo exhibition at the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jaffa-Tel Aviv, he presents a laboratory and a final product that demonstrates the collection of visual images of sound vibrations at various levels and statuses translated into a unique and authentic video image. The sound is used as a hidden background layer when it is not heard but only seen. Alongside a projection of a video-visual loop, the central video work the image of the spinning wheel, a ticking clock or the solar system - is a product of earthquake sound from different countries and periods. Similar to various phenomena related to the Earth like gravity, there is the scientific explanation of its occurrence but we do not have the ability to interfere in the process, so is the visual product of the video that deals with the sound of earthquakes (since there is no ability to prevent the vibrations of nature). Also as a way of thinking how the physical movement of one continent can change the world order. The sound waves have a clean and complete visual appearance with small disturbances that violate both order and completeness. The exhibition is a peek into the continuation of a fascinating study between sound waves, video and image. This is an invitation to digital vibration. 122

Exhibition Curator - Marina Pozner 123